Delta Dental to offer aid to subscribers and dentists hurt by pandemic

Associated Press


Delta Dental to offer aid to subscribers and dentists hurt by pandemic

Delta Dental of Massachusetts said Monday that it will offer additional help to subscribers and dentists as part of its efforts to cushion the financial blow of the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s largest dental insurer said individuals who signed up directly or through the Massachusetts Health Connector will receive a 30 percent credit on premiums for April and May, while laid-off or furloughed employees of its business clients will get free access to its card discount plan from June 1 through the end of the year. Delta Dental also said it will provide dental practices with $10 payments for each in-person patient visit from June 1 to Aug. 31 to help cover operating costs including personal protective equipment. Earlier this month the company said it will offer claims advances to dentists and premium credits to employers. That earlier announcement came two days after the Massachusetts Dental Society petitioned the state to require Delta and other insurers to provide emergency financial aid, arguing they have been collecting premiums from business customers even as claims have fallen sharply during the pandemic. — LARRY EDELMAN


Lufthansa’s supervisory board approves government bailout

The supervisory board of Lufthansa approved Germany’s $10 billion bailout proposal, paving the way for the airline to receive the lifeline should shareholders accept the deal. With the carrier’s cash reserves dwindling, Lufthansa’s supervisory board voted in favor of the plan and called an extraordinary general meeting of stockholders for June 25. The board’s approval was unexpectedly delayed last week after members balked at European Union demands for slot disposals, a matter resolved in a deal sealed late Friday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Liquidator of Madoff’s firm may seek billions overseas

The US Supreme Court let the liquidator of Bernard Madoff’s investment firm press ahead with efforts to recoup $3 billion from European banks and other overseas investors. The justices, without comment on Monday, turned away an appeal by investors led by HSBC who said trustee Irving Picard was impermissibly trying to apply US bankruptcy law to foreign transactions. A federal appeals court let Picard sue the investors. The money is the biggest remaining bucket of cash being sought by Picard as he tries to compensate customers who lost $19 billion in principal after Madoff’s arrest. So far Picard has recovered more than $14 billion and distributed more than $13 billion to victims — significantly more than many predicted when he was appointed in 2008. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Libbey files for bankruptcy

Libbey Inc., the US glassware maker, filed for bankruptcy after the covid-19 pandemic intensified a burdensome debt load and strained its access to cash. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in Delaware after the virus and related state-imposed lockdowns gutted demand for its tumblers, mugs, and bowls among key food-service customers like restaurants and bars. Libbey had been reviewing its debt pile before the outbreak and had already tried and failed to refinance its term loans, according to court papers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


L.L. Bean back in business

L.L. Bean reopened its shuttered 24-hour flagship store that had closed since mid-March on Monday, part of a new wave of openings of stores. The Maine Mall in South Portland also was reopening Monday, but most of the stores remained closed. Maine businesses are allowed to deny service or entry to people who are not wearing cloth face coverings. There also are strict rules on how many people are allowed inside stores. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Techology would charge electric cars while driving

Electreon Wireless Ltd. is pressing ahead with projects to test its technology that allows electric cars to be charged while driving, potentially demonstrating a way to overcome a key barrier to the mass adoption of the vehicles. The startup plans to install under a half-mile of coils beneath a 1.2 mile stretch of road in Tel Aviv in mid-August, chief executive Oren Ezer said in an interview Tuesday at Electreon’s offices in Beit Yanai, Israel. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Antidepressant in short supply as pandemic anxiety rises

One of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the United States has fallen into short supply, as demand increases due to mental health strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration added Zoloft tablets to its list of drugs in shortage on Friday. Zoloft, which is sold under the generic name sertraline, was first approved in the United States in 1991. It’s used to treat a range of conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post traumatic-stress disorder. Isolation and anxiety triggered by the coronavirus have heightened demand for mental-health services. Zoloft prescriptions climbed 12 percent year-over-year to 4.9 million in March, the most ever in the United States, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. Prescriptions receded to 4.5 million in April. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Walmart’s annual bash is going virtual this year

Every year in early June, thousands of people from around the globe descend upon Northwest Arkansas for a gathering like no other. Take a corporate presentation, add a raucous rock concert, toss in a few celebrities and the world’s richest family, douse it all with the fervor of an old-fashioned religious revival, and you have the annual Walmart Inc. “associate and shareholder celebration.” The weeklong affair attracts a varied crowd — from pinstriped Wall Street analysts to Dickies-clad forklift operators — who pour money into the hotels, bars, and restaurants in and around the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Ark. But not this year. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Walmart to pivot to a virtual gathering on June 3. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Executives warn against British quarantine for travelers

More than 200 travel and hospitality executives, including the head of London’s iconic Ritz hotel, called on Britain to scrap contentious quarantine plans and allow unhindered flights from countries with a low risk of spreading the coronavirus. The group of 217 industry figures — spanning travel agents to chefs — also want Britain to relax advice warning against nonessential travel, according to a statement Monday. The intervention came as the International Air Transport Association published research suggesting the policy of 14 days of self-isolation for UK arrivals will put people off flying almost as much as fears surrounding the pandemic itself. Travel companies are ramping up efforts to head off the quarantine plan before it takes effect on June 8 in a bid to salvage what’s left of the summer vacation season. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Zynga to buy Turkish company for $1.8 billion

Zynga Inc. agreed to buy Turkish mobile-game maker Peak for $1.8 billion, making its biggest acquisition ever during an industry boom fueled by consumers staying at home with few live-entertainment options. The deal is comprised of $900 million in cash and $900 million in Zynga stock, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement Monday. It’s slated to be completed in the third quarter. The announcement confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report.The Peak de al will bring Zynga a popular lineup of puzzle games called Toon Blast and Toy Blast. — BLOOMBERG NEWS